Time to Change – Day Ninety-Two

So, the rain has finally come.  After sweltering through the past three days which all cleared 40 degrees celcius (that’s 104 degrees fahrenheit for those in the US), I don’t remember the last time I was so happy to see the sky grey over.  I’ll discuss this more later, as I’ll try to pick up where I left off last time.

I’d just been to the Taylor Swift concert, and honestly, that’s still probably the coolest thing I’ve done in awhile.  As predicted, my weekend wasn’t particularly interesting.  Neither was my working week really, aside from a massive sale I managed to get after the customer came in with a simple question.  Everyone at work was very impressed, and I got talked about in the next day’s before-your-shift meeting.  That was a nice feeling because firstly, my previous job never really gave any recognition like that and secondly, it makes me feel like I deserve to be there.  Or…I don’t know if that’s right…I guess it makes me feel like less of a newbie.  Don’t get me wrong, aside from asking more questions than older employees, I don’t think many people really see me as a newbie (mostly because there’s just so many of us), but I still feel like one.  It’s hard to shake that mentality, though at some point I’ll have to.  I guess after my probation ends, which will be in three months time.  We’ll see.  Either way, it was pretty cool that I was the topic of the day.  Even the store manager (who I have the occasional two-second conversation with but otherwise don’t have a lot to do with) pulled me aside and introduced me to someone (a higher up visiting the store or something) and said I was “the girl who did the massive sale yesterday”.  Apparently I was the “special mention” on their daily conference call.  Pretty sweet!

I caught public transport all week, and am really starting to get used to it.  I know when I have to sneak out a couple of minutes early from my shift to race to catch the train (or else sit around for 20 minutes waiting for the next one), I know without checking what time the bus comes each morning (keeping in mind my shifts change a lot, so it’s taken me awhile to get used to).  Hell, I’m even managing to keep my balance better on the train when I’m forced to stand up!  Thankfully, this hasn’t happened too often as I generally miss peak hour.

The commute still exhausts me.  I feel like I’ll never properly get used to it.  I know it’s probably way too early to say that but I’ve always needed a decent amount of sleep to function and often, I’m just not able to get that, which leaves me feeling groggy, grumpy and out of it in the morning.  It also means I spent a large portion of my weekends catching up on sleep, which don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with…but I don’t know how I’m going to cope longterm.  Still, each time I think about asking for a transfer, I remember all that I’d be giving up with it…and I just can’t do it.  It’d be like giving up a mansion to go back to a unit.  I’m hoping my roster will be a little better next month, but given how big our normal trading hours are, I’m not holding my breath.

I called in sick for the first time at this job on Friday.  This may not seem too interesting, but I’m one of those people that never, ever call in sick.  It’s something mum drummed into me the second I joined the work force – “save your sick leave in case you wind up in hospital!”.  While she has a point, the real reason behind her anti-sick-leave status is that her and my dad run a business and they’ve gone through a number of employees who use up their sick leave extremely quickly.  She knows what it’s like to be on the other side of them.  I guess, coming from management in my last job, I do as well.  So for me to call in sick, it’s a big deal.  I’d rather go work and try to stick it out until someone looks at me pityingly and tells me to go home.  I did vow, though, that I was going into this job with a different mentality.  I wouldn’t work excessive amounts of hours, I wouldn’t work when I wasn’t getting paid…and I’m not going to kill myself trying to work when I’m sick.  I left my previous job with something like 500 hours of sick leave, none of which I got reimbursed for.  That’s essentially weeks of paid leave I missed out on.  Now, I’m not saying I’m going to call in sick “because I feel a cold coming on” (that was a legitimate excuse someone gave at my previous work once), but I’m also going to acknowledge that sick leave is there to be used.  I think it helps that we have so many staff working that my not being there occasionally isn’t going to wreck havoc on the store for the day.

Anyway, I digress.  I woke up with a headache, but it seemed to go away within about half an hour.  I wasn’t due in at work until 2, and had scheduled a meeting to sign my building contract for my house at 9.30.  It was the first day of scorching heat, and it was already in the mid-30s by the time I got there.  My head started to hurt again, but again, I ignored it.  The meeting was dry, as my parents read through the thick wad of paperwork, pretending to understand what it was saying.  Then I had to sign countless pages, and initial them, and then do it all over again for a second copy.  Oh man, it took so long.  By the time that was done, my head was feeling pretty terrible, though at least the place had air con.  Once the meeting wrapped up, and I had to step out into the heat, I knew a sick day was on the cards.  I’m glad the place was only 20 minutes away from home, because I was feeling weak, dizzy, nauseous and wished I’d bought my sunglasses, because the light was not my friend.  I stumbled into my house, which thankfully was lovely and dark (the blinds drawn and fans already running on high in an attempt to outsmart the heat).  Despite all this, I was still in two minds about calling.  Mum had drilled her ideas into me so hard that it made me feel even more sick at the prospect of making the call.  The only reason I managed to was because I knew I couldn’t handle getting onto a hot train and then standing on my feet, making small talk with strangers for eight hours, feeling like I might vomit on their shoes the whole time.  When I called, one of the guys I feel like I know okay picked up…thank God.  If it was someone from back of house like I’d assumed, I’d have been more nervous as I don’t have much to do with them.  The guy was lovely and told me I’d need a medical certificate (I’d already mentally prepared for that), and told me to get better.  That was it.  Painless.  I then called the doctors and made an appointment for much later in the afternoon, and settled in on the couch, relieved I didn’t have to work.  I slept off the migraine and by mid-afternoon was feeling great.  And guilty, because I could have done the second-half of my shift no problem, but I tried not to dwell on that.  I’d already called in sick, they’d probably already replaced me, and besides, hoarding sick leave didn’t work out well last time.

I went to my doctors appointment, expecting to be sitting around for an hour.  It often happens at the place I go to, but I stick with it because the doctors are really no-fuss-straight-to-the-point…which is great when you just want a medical certificate, and that’s at least 50% of the reason I go to the doctors.  Instead, I was sitting there for maybe two minutes, got called in, and walked out with the med cert two minutes later.  Amazing!

I was feeling great by Friday night, knowing I still had two days off.  I think the migraine was partly from the heat (and therefore, lack of sleep), but also because I’d been running myself into the ground with work and the hour-and-a-half commute each way.  I’d been feeling off for a couple of days.   I think I’m going to have to start listening to my body more now, and using my sick days for the occasional “mental health” day.  I know that’s not what they’re actually for (and my mother would be horrified), but if I ignore my body, it only makes things worse.  We’ll see how we go though.

The last two days have been mostly spent holed up at home, determined to beat the disgusting heat without air con.  The air con as never worked properly in the place I live in, and I know I could get it fixed, but it’s not worth the trouble when I know for the most part I’m not home during the day, and that I’ll be moving out soon enough into my own place with proper air con.  Until then, I survive with lots of fans and the blinds drawn.  I quite like the darkness anyway, but my dog gets a little frustrated.  She loves nothing more than the back door wide open so she has free rein of the house and yard…and that wasn’t happening this weekend.  I’d let her out, but the second she’d come back in, everything would be shut up again.  I think overall for the three days I did pretty well.  I mean, it wasn’t air conditioning cold in the house, but it was manageable.  On the plus side, fans are a lot cheaper to run than air con, so hopefully I’ve saved some money that way!

This morning I had to brave the heat as I needed to get my nails redone.  They weren’t catching on anything yet (my sign that they’re in desperate need of fixing up), but I knew I wouldn’t have time during the week to go anywhere thanks to my commute time and odd work hours, and then it’s Christmas and everything will be closed.  I really didn’t want to go, but I really couldn’t avoid it.  I usually go to a place about 30 mins away, as I really like it there, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen today…if I had to go there, I wouldn’t go at all.  I decided I’d try the place five minutes down the road, and that I’d get there early in an attempt to beat the crowds and the heat.  They were set to open at 10, so I was there at 10.  All the other shops around it opened, and the opening hours on the door confirmed I was there at the right time, and yet…nothing.  There were no lights on inside, no movement, and slowly, other people began to join me in waiting.  I waited fifteen minutes, then gave up.  Even if she’d arrived right then, there’d surely only be one of her, otherwise someone else would already be there to open up.  And if there’s only one of her, how could she possible serve the four people waiting?

I headed to the closest shopping centre instead.  I’d been avoiding going there as this close to Christmas, I was worried it would be flat out.  I guess it was, but I wouldn’t say it was busier than usual.  The shops had only opened half an hour before though, so I guess a lot of people had slept in, or gone to Church, and decided to wait for the cool change to come through.  Whatever the reason, I was pretty pleased.  I wandered into the first nail place I could find, and there were pretty busy, but told me to take a seat.  I waited maybe fifteen minutes, but I received acknowledgement and apologies the whole time, so I didn’t mind.  Hell, I was expecting to be told to come back later when I first walked in, so I was okay with the relatively short wait.  Once I did get served, I found the service friendly and attentive.  The first girl took her time fixing up my nails, carefully removing the old shellac and paint and reshaping them.  Then another girl took her time repainting them, doing 5 layers on each, which was actually really nice as it felt like she cared about how they turned out.  She also made sure they were 100% dry, which is something I’ve had issues with in the past.  My only gripe about the place – and it’s a small one – is that they didn’t take card, meaning I had to quickly run to the ATM and pull cash out.  I could have easily done a runner, but they’d done such a great job I didn’t have the heart to do it.  Still, I wonder how many times that’s happened.  It’s their own fault really, for not taking card in the first place, and for having the smallest “cash only” sign in existence.  I’d definitely go back there again though, even if it feels like I’m cheating on my usual place for them!

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Tomorrow I’m back at work, but only for four days thanks to Christmas, and then I have a four day weekend, woohoo!  I’m not 100% sure why I have Monday off, though I’m thinking it’s because Boxing Day falls on a Saturday this year, and Saturday is my usual RDO, so they’re giving my Monday off instead.  That’s just a guess though, and I’m not going to question it in case it’s a mistake.  I mean, I don’t think it is, but I’m so looking forward to 4 days off that I’m not gonna risk it!  I also got some goods news yesterday – the store is closing earlier than originally planned on Christmas Eve, so I’m only working until 6pm now instead of 8!  Yaaay!

My diet still isn’t back on track.  I know it’s all just excuses, but when you’re roster is everywhere, you spend 3 hours a day on public transport and you don’t even have a set break time, it’s extremely challenging to find time to eat healthy food.  I’m just glad I’m getting extra exercise in to help make up for it.  I know it won’t do much, but it’s better than nothing.

How’s was everyone else’s week?

– JD

PS I realized I skimmed over the fact I signed my building contract.  I know it should be a big deal.  I mean, it is a big deal.  It’s final and locked in and in six months or so, I’ll be a home owner with a mortgage.  It all just feels so surreal though that it just felt like more paperwork.  It didn’t help I was feeling so unwell, but I think even if I wasn’t, I don’t think I’d have felt too excited about it.  Like, I acknowledge the importance of it…but until the building starts and I can finally see work being done, it’s still just a pipe dream.  It’s nothing but scribbles and words.  I’m hanging for the day when I can move in and see all the stuff I chose on colour day in real life, with my furniture in there.  Until then, I just can’t get excited about it all.

Time to Change – Day Sixty-Four

First off, I know I’ve been away for awhile.  I could say I was too busy but that’s not really true.  Honestly, I just haven’t been in the mood to write.  It’s not writers block…I had plenty of stuff I could have written on, I just had no motivation to do it.  I wasn’t going to force myself to do it because I know that’s a surefire way to burn myself out all together and I really enjoy blogging generally, so I didn’t want to risk that.  I’ll try and write more this week!

Anyway, it’s been so long since I wrote that I feel like I don’t know where to start.  I left off getting ready for an upcoming wedding of one of my best friend’s sisters.  The wedding was really nice, outside in a Heritage Listed property in it’s fancy gardens.  The only issue I (and most people) had was that where we were sitting was in direct sunlight, so it was kind of uncomfortable squinting to see what was going on.  Oh, and there weren’t enough seats, which is kind of weird.  Both things that the venue would have been in charge of, I’d assume, so they probably should have known better and pre-planned to accomodate it.  The reception was held in the same venue but in a hall.  They used wooden Scrabble pieces to spell out people’s names (which was really cute) and had a little bag of custom lollies with their names and their wedding date on them.  The food was really nice too, though in typical Wedding fashion, was really small.  I had prawns as an entree (three of them), duck for main (one small leg) and creme brule for dessert (this was the biggest meal of the three, and the first time I’d had it.  It was nice).  I was worried the whole day I’d get a headache, as big outings like this generally trigger them (I have no idea why) and I’d forgotten to pack painkillers.  Right on cue at about dinner time, the first symptoms had started.  I think maybe my blood sugar was low, and the champagne wasn’t helping, because once I’d eaten dessert the headache went away pretty quickly.

It was awesome hanging out with two of my best friends, and we all looked so dressed up and mature.  Mature isn’t something we really pride ourselves on when we’re together though, so after dessert we headed off to the closest Pancake Parlour to eat a proper meal.  I love Pancake Parlour.  Sure, everything is full of sugar or fat but it tastes so amazing!  Plus, several of the shops are open 24/7, which has come in handy a couple of times in my life.  It was a great day, all in all, aside from the fact it was held on a Sunday night and I had work the next morning.  Surprisingly, despite going to bed hours later than usual, I pulled up okay.  Win!

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My favourite meal from Pancake Parlour – Chocolate Chip Pancakes!

Speaking of food, my diet once again flew out the window this week.  I started buying lunch again and while I could have found a lot more unhealthy options, the stuff I bought still wasn’t great.  I don’t even know why I started buying lunch, as I’d packed food.  It’s a slippery slope though, and once I started, I wound up doing it every day.  My diet over the weekend hasn’t been much better either.  At least my dinner’s (aside from last night) have all been Lite n Easy ones, so I didn’t go completely crazy.

My diet properly starts again tomorrow, to coincide with my starting work at my real store, after training up for over a month at a different one.  It was sad saying goodbye to everyone there, and they all had such nice things to say to me considering I’d only been there for a short time.  I even got flowers and a cake!  I doubt I’d have gotten that at my old job after five years.

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It’ll be really weird rocking up to a new store and team tomorrow.  I mean, I knew it was coming but I’ve gotten so used to the team at the other store.  I’ve met a handful of people from my real store but given how many staff are going to be working there, I feel like it’s going to take my a long time to meet everyone, and even longer to remember their names.

We aren’t opening officially until Tuesday week, so in the lead up to that we’re doing dress rehearsals and dry runs to get a feel for the store and make sure everything works correctly and flows like it should.  I’m glad they’ve included this (even though I initially laughed at it) because it means I’m not jumping directly from one store to the other and had to try to adjust straight away.  I had a bit of time to work out the differences (and there’s going to be a lot of them) and to settle into the new team.

As it’s in the city, I know my step count is automatically going to be higher than it has been while working in a shopping centre, so I’m just going to make sure I eat healthy and hopefully my diet will get back on track.  In preparation, I bought myself a lunchbox and a big glass water bottle.  While I’m sure the new store will have fridges and a water fountain (hell, they’re even giving us access to a free squishy machine in the back room!), I know if I rely on that stuff, I’ll be tempted to leave my lunch in the fridge and go buy food instead, and I’ll forget to drink water.  If I’m lugging it to and from work, I think I’ll be more inclined to eat it.

All weekend I’ve been rekindling my love for SimCity 4.  I know a lot of people think it’s terrible (and parts of it definitely are) but overall, once you get used to the interface, it’s fun and interesting and full of challenges.  I initially played it when it first came out, but got frustrated with their unreliable servers causing the game to drop out and not save sometimes hours worth of progress, and eventually gave up.  I briefly got back into it when the expansion pack was released but that didn’t last long either.  It had been so long since I played it, I initially struggled to remember where everything was (there are so many menus and buttons) and had to google where to find things.  Eventually though, it all came back to me and I started playing properly again.  The servers seem a lot better now (so it should, the game has been out for two years now!) but online isn’t as fun any more because it doesn’t have many active players.  Luckily that isn’t an imperative part of it so it was still fun.  So much so I lost about twelve hours (probably more) of my weekend to it.  That’s also another reason why I didn’t blog – I knew I should, but I just couldn’t switch off the game.  I found ways to make heaps of money so it was a lot of fun spending it all then trying to juggle the repercussions of it.

The other part of my weekend was spent watching YouTube tutorials on how to use my hair straightener to curl my hair.  It’s something I’ve been wanting to learn forever (as my family friend/hairdresser used to do it to my hair and I’d never managed to replicate it).  I had moderate success with it after watching the tutorials, though I’m still not great at it.  I’ll practice it a bit more as I think I want my hair done nicely for the store’s grand opening.  I’ve got a week and a bit to get it down pat!

I don’t think much else is new.  I’ll definitely update you on how tomorrow (and the rest of the week) goes, both with the new store and my diet! 🙂

Time to Change – Day Fifty-One

There’s something incredibly gratifying about having Mondays off.  I’ve always thought this, although after having it as one of my permanent days off at my old job, I’d started to take it for granted.  Today was my first Monday off since starting my new job, and I’ve fallen back in love with it again.  I think it’s the fact that you know you’d normally be at work (and everyone else is) and you have a free pass to sleep and watch daytime TV and do anything you want.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I dislike having Saturdays off, but it’s just so…ordinary.  On top of that, the shops are always busier, the parks fuller, your friends busier.

Needless to say, I had a great day.  It wasn’t anything unusual, but I found it so relaxing.  I had scrambled eggs for breakfast, then spent a couple of hours catching up on everyone’s blogs.  I had crackers and vegemite for lunch, and sultanas.  Then I had a long nap, which was made more relaxing knowing I’d normally be at work.  Ahhh, such a great feeling.  After I woke up, I decided to stop procrastinating and do some more cleaning in preparation for the inspection on Thursday.  I did a couple of loads of dishes (I let them get way out of hand, I admit.  Dishes are my least favourite chore and the dishwasher that came with the rental house I’m in is a weird brand and does a shitty job).  I then made dinner – Lite n Easy Lasagne.  Once again, I was interested to know how this would go, as microwave lasagne is normally pretty average.  It turned out okay.  Not as nice as my previous two meals as the lasagne was a little soft and soggy (as expected without any oven baking), however it tasted nice apart from that.  It was also the lowest in calories of the four meals I’ve had thus far, which was a pleasant surprise.

While I was cleaning and eating dinner, I was also catching up on Bones.  I had the first three episodes of season ten waiting to be watched, and it didn’t fail to disappoint.  I’m not going to post spoilers, but to anyone who has seen it, I think you’d feel my pain during episode two.  So emotional!

After I finished dinner, I headed off to the shops for groceries.  I wish I still got enjoyment out of going like I used to when I first moved out.  Now it’s just a chore, made worse now I’m trying to eat well as there are so many delicious, wonderful options there that I have to walk past.  Kudos to me, my self-control was pretty good.  I did get one naughty thing, but as long as I eat it in moderation, I think it’ll be fine.  Six months ago, it was “spot the healthy food” in amongst the junk in my basket, now it’s the opposite, which is a great feeling.  Plus, now that I’ve got my dinners organised, I’m not spending too much money there any more, and I’m there for less time.  That’s great as the less time I’m there, the less tempted I am to stock up on stuff I shouldn’t be eating!

Once I got home, I put the groceries away, did another load of dishes (seriously, they just never end!) and then sat down to watch the Block.  For the Aussie readers out there, Suzi is actually the most annoying person on TV right now, amiright?  I then washed my hair in preparation for work tomorrow and watched the Biggest Loser.  It’s funny, two years ago I was so anti-reality TV shows and now I watch all the main ones.  I guess they’ve just become so popular and mainstream and normal that I let myself get sucked into it.  That being said, these are what I see as “actual reality” shows (as in, while some of it is probably scripted and planned and refilmed, a lot of it isn’t), instead of “unreality” shows such as Jersey Shore, the Kardashians, Real Housewives, Idol etc.  Those shows I will never buy into or watch, as it’s so fake and scripted it bothers me just watching the ads.  I mean, I get why people watch them…they’re easy to get sucked into, and they’re funny, and it’s so completely different from normal life that it’s morbidly interesting.  I just don’t want to support shows like that.

Tomorrow I’m back at work again, but only for four days this week as technically I worked six last week (I say technically because one was a public holiday that I didn’t actually work, but because I got paid, it is treated as such).  I’m so excited, I love four day weeks.  They always go by so fast.  Sure, it means I don’t get my beloved Monday off, but I think I can deal with this arrangement!

Anyway, time for me to call it a night and hope I can sleep okay.  It was really hot today and my room always struggles to cool down after them.  I have a pedestal fan I can use if I need to, but it’s pretty loud and annoying so I avoid it where possible.  I don’t think I’ll be able to avoid it tonight though.  Oh well, it beats sweating half the night!

-JD

Time to Change – Day Twenty-Five

So, I’ve had a massive couple of days.  It’s exhausting going from zero to a hundred in the space of a week.  It feels weird to think this time last week I was sitting around all day, and now I can barely catch my breath.  It’s good and I’m enjoying being employed again, but it’s hard to get used to and even harder to find time to write (especially because my TV shows are already starting to pile up and get out of control, argh!).

Yesterday was pretty good.  My ears were still giving me grief but I made an effort to keep my painkillers topped up instead of letting it get out of hand then battling to get it under control.  I was in induction again, and it went well.  All the people in there were really friendly and fun, and the trainers were awesome.  I’ve been in a lot of crappy training sessions in my time, but this wasn’t one of them.  The day’s focus was on products, which is something I didn’t know much about in terms of telco-specific stuff, but I knew a lot about in it the broader sense.  I still feel like I have a lot to learn about the products they offer, but I’m not letting myself get too overwhelmed or concerned by that stuff.  I know it’s easy to get lost in it, but realistically you can fake-it-til-you-make-it with the help of computers and brochures and stuff.

Public transport is definitely a challenge.  I’ve done it before (in fact, I did it for a month this time last year) and I’d rather PT than driving into the city and paying through the nose for parking, but it’s certainly different.  Firstly, you have to get to the station, which is always a longer walk than it would be to a car park.  Not necessarily a bad thing as it gets my step count up, though adds to my exhaustion at the end of the day.  Then you wait for the train.  Then you get on and it’s peak hour so there’s no seats and barely even anything to hold onto so you’re basically focusing entirely on not falling over as the train lurches around.  You know if you do fall, it’ll be like human dominoes and you certainly don’t want to be the one that causes it.  After 45 minutes you finally arrive at your station, then get off and hurry to the waiting bus (praying it doesn’t leave before you get there).  You get on and hope he doesn’t take off until you’ve sat down, lest you fall flat on your face (I’ve done it before).  Twenty minutes later, you get off the bus and walk about a kilometre home, avoiding big trees so you won’t get swooped by crazy mother magpies.

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Seriously, I hate the fucking things.  Then again, I hate most birds so that isn’t really saying much.  Still, there isn’t much that scares me more than the sound of flapping fast approaching and the thought of claws and wings suddenly attacking you from behind.  You ask any Australian what they hate about spring time and chances are this will make it into their top three.

Anyway, I digress.  After getting up super early, battling public transport in the morning, doing training all day, battling even worst public transport at night, I get home absolutely wiped.  I didn’t get the chance to rest yesterday though.  I jumped straight into the car and headed to the doctors to see what they thought was going on with my ears.  I always arrive early and I always wonder why.  I always seem to land the ones that are miles behind.  The doctor next to her saw six separate people to my doctor’s two.  She was half an hour behind, so I didn’t get in there until 7.30.  At least she was thorough with her questioning.  We basically got nowhere though.  She said it wasn’t ear infections (surprisingly) and thought it might be part of an ongoing migraine, which I wasn’t so sure about even though when it first started it coincided with one.  Then she dropped the bombshell – she said if it was from a migraine, I should get a needle to hopefully fix it.

Wait what.

I hate needles.  I was totally blindsided by it.  I didn’t even know migraine needles were a thing, and even if I had of, I didn’t think what I had was a migraine.  So I get sent to another waiting area then ushered into a nurse’s station.  She tried to brush it off as nothing but I mean, hello, you’re sticking something into my skin.  That isn’t nothing!  Still, after getting a wisdom tooth out recently, I knew this wasn’t gonna be anywhere near as bad as two needles in my gum.  It was okay.  The needle itself didn’t hurt at all until the very end, but for the rest of the night my whole arm was so sore.  I was paranoid it would become stiff like it did once when I was a kid (though I had a feeling as a kid I probably didn’t move it at all for fear of pain and that caused issues).

So, after all that, I got home at about 8.15, tired, hot, sore and hungry.  Not the ideal end to the day.  By the time I fed the dog and got changed, it was 8.30.  I had half a bag of popcorn for dinner, watched one episode of the Block then went to bed and fell heavily asleep.  I haven’t slept like that (without drugs) for a long time.  It was one of those sleeps where you wake up and it feels like five minutes ago you crawled into bed.  While it probably means it was a good sleep, it isn’t a nice feeling because it’s like you never got to appreciate the time between work.

I battled PT again today, and had my last day of induction.  It’s funny, as I said I’ve had heaps of trainings before in my life with people I don’t know, but it’s never felt as friendly as this.  We all got on really well and had a lot of laughs.  We even added each other on Facebook at the end of it.  I think it has a lot to do with the cool people who ran it – they were just as friendly and awesome, and really set the tone for the whole training.  Today was focused mainly on systems and tying up loose ends.  I think overall I liked this day the most as I’m a bit of a systems nerd and really enjoy that aspect of work, and getting to play with all the different features.  We didn’t go in depth at all today but we saw what was possible and what we’d learn about in the future once we get into store and it seemed pretty awesome (albeit confusing and complicated).

After finally getting home, I had to leave straight away (again!), this time to go grocery shopping, which I’d been putting off for a couple of days.  Once again, I wasn’t home until after 7.30.  At least I’ve now had a chance to catch up on a few TV episodes and relax a little.  I’ll probably had a bath later on, before resting up and doing something similar tomorrow – induction might be over but now it’s compliance training, which is going to be dry and long and boring.  At least I should be able to smash through it, after doing all this at my previous work.  I’m looking forward to getting my roster for the next month and seeing where I’ll be put to train up prior to my store opening.  Hopefully it’s close by.

In terms of my diet, it went out the window this week.  Honestly, while I know I should be focusing on it and keeping it up, I just didn’t have the energy.  I had so much else going on that what I was putting in my mouth just didn’t make it onto the list.  I fell back into old habits hard.  I think once I know the gameplan I can mentally prepare a bit better and work out how I’m going to tackle it, but right now with everything so up in the air, it’s just too difficult.  This is pretty much how it was this week:

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At least working in the city and using public transport has automatically lifted my step count to an average of between 5000-7000 a day.  I haven’t had a chance to go on my walk (I feel bad for my dog who has kind of been shafted – one week I’m there and walking her every day and the next I’m out of the house heaps and not walking her).  I will make an effort to start the exercise back up once I get my roster and know where I’m working.  I know I need to stick to it, it’s just a lot harder now to find time for everything.

My ears are still sore, but I’ve cut back on the painkillers a little bit, and it’s coming and going more now instead of being constant.  I don’t know if that’s because of the injection or just because whatever’s going on is fixing itself.  I feel like it’s probably the latter – I even told the GP I didn’t think it was from migraine pain because I get migraines heaps and they’ve never been like that.  I don’t really care what the issue is, I just need to feel better.  Being sick on top of all this is making everything even more stressful and exhausting.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow, even if it’s going to be boring.  I really think I’m going to enjoy the job once I get settled in, and I can appreciate it after losing one and then hating the next one I got.  Really makes you want to do well once you find something you like!

-JD

“Who is your favourite literary character of all-time?”

My favourite literary character of all time is Ellie Linton, the heroine from John Marsden’s the Tomorrow Series and later, the Ellie Chronicles.  A character a lot of Australians would know well.

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I first read the series when I was about twelve after a recommendation from my Grade 5 teacher.  I initially didn’t think much of it.  I was young, what could I possibly like about a series based around a war?  Little did I know it would become my favourite series ever, one I’d read over and over again.

All the characters in it are great and relatable in some respects.  Fi is the innocent friend, the one you hate to see hurt the most.  Robyn is the religious friend, who is caught between her faith and her loyalties.  Lee is the smart one, who can sometimes be a little socially awkward.  Corrie is the faithful best friend, always there with a shoulder to cry on.  Kevin is the outspoken one, who let’s his words get him into trouble as much as get him out of it.  Homer is the boisterous one, the good guy with a rebellious front.  The reason I love Ellie most of all though, is because she’s the bravest and the toughest, even in her weakest moments.  Where Fi and Robyn show bravery then fall apart, Ellie doesn’t let herself do that.  Not only that, but she’s incredibly selfless, and always puts her friends first, even when it could cost her her life.  That kind of loyalty is something usually reserved for male characters.  In saying all this, though, she isn’t some sort of war robot.  She’s constantly torn between what’s right and what needs to be done, and sometimes she gets it wrong.

I love the character because it shows that it’s okay to be scared, to make mistakes, to be human.  It shows girls can be brave.  It shows girls don’t always need men around to protect them.  She’s fiery and strong and a leader, a character that I believe has shaped me into someone I’m always striving to become.  I don’t believe the books would be half as powerful to read if a male was the narrator.  It would be just another war series.  John Marsden made a fantastic choice when he put Ellie in the driver’s seat!

Who’s your favourite literary character?

-JD

My Two Cents: Drug Testing Welfare Recipients

This is a hot topic in Australia at the moment after the government suggested potential plans to bring this in, in an effort to stop people using their welfare allowances on illegal substances.  I know a lot of you reading this aren’t from Down Under.  We had a slang term to address people like that – “Dole Bludgers”.  It’s an offensive term and something a lot of people actively avoid being called.  It basically means you’re too lazy to get a job and the rest of the country hates you for wasting our tax money.  There are suburbs in every state where there are a large number of Dole Bludgers…it’s those same suburbs that are actively avoided due to their reputation of high crime rates.  I know I don’t go to them unless absolutely necessary.

Anyway, I’m all for the testing.  I know some people – namely those accepting allowance payments – think it’s an invasion of privacy, and there’s no guarantee the drugs were paid for my government hand outs.  They say it doesn’t mean they aren’t looking for work.  If they’re unable to work, they say it doesn’t hurt anyone and it shouldn’t affect their entitlements.  They say they need the money to feed their families.  They say it’s a health issue, much the same as cancer or depression.  I’ve read all the excuses.  That’s exactly what they are – excuses.

Whether or not drugs should be illegal is a completely different argument, but as it stands in Australia right at this moment, they are a banned substance.  Now, if you want to use them despite that, then that’s your choice and I’m not about to go all politically correct about that.  It doesn’t directly affect me (thankfully) so I’m not about to weigh in on that issue.  I will say, though, that if you’re using my taxpayer money to fund your habit, that’s when I’m going to start saying no.  I was unemployed up until last week (though I never got so far as to accept handouts).  I understand it isn’t easy to find a job.  In fact, it’s hard work and it sucks.  That’s why our government has a system that allows for hand outs.  I have no problem with people accepting the money, because that’s what it’s there for, but I do have an issue when they piss it away on dope or ice and don’t even attempt to find a job because they’re too busy being off their faces.

Drug testing would mean that people found to have banned substances in their systems would be stripped of their benefits, and be forced to find work.  While that may initially sound ruthless (particularly to those supporting families), I don’t see this as being a bad thing.  It’s forcing them to get clean, ask for help, admit the problem instead of hiding away, making the problem worse, and possibly endangering their lives and the lives that surround them.  Obviously there would need to be some timeline in place for those that comply and legitimately can’t find work, but this would also need to be accompanied by regular drug tests as well.

Is it an invasion of privacy?  Well, no, not if you’re using taxpayer’s money.  You gave up your right to that level of privacy when you began accepting those payments.  If you aren’t doing anything wrong, you aren’t giving up anything more private than your pee.  Again, this probably sounds ruthless.  Isn’t everyone entitled to privacy?  Yes, of course.  I’m not suggesting everyone who goes on the dole should have to give blood samples and fingerprints.  It’s not a criminal offence to ask the government for help.  It is a criminal offence, however, to use elicit drugs, and if you’re going to break the government’s law using government funds, then it’s you’re own stupid fault if you get caught.

The most used excuse is “it’s a health issue”.  I understand it’s an addiction so in that sense it’s true.  That being said, just the same as alcohol, cigarettes and sugar, it’s something you can kick.  I believe should this testing come into practice, the government would need to give users free access to rehabilitation clinics and support groups, as I completely agree it’s almost impossible to go cold turkey.  I’m not suggesting this testing should be bought in to punish users, but to help them.  If they refuse the help, then they lose their benefits and that’s the end of that, but if they accept the help and successfully kick the habit, then they should be allowed benefits again.  Seems fairly straightforward to me.

The last excuse I want to touch on is the “I need the money to feed my families” one.  This one is particularly disturbing to me as drugs aren’t cheap, we all know this.  If you’re expecting your allowance to cover your habit and your kids food, what are you feeding them?  It’s bad enough they’ve got a drug user in the household, but to then be raised on two minute noodles and baked beans because that’s all they can afford after the drug money?  This is why testing needs to come in.  To help the innocent victims.  To get their parents back on track.  To give them a voice and make them heard.

Australia is a great country when it comes to supporting it’s people.  We have a fantastic health system and a decent support system for the sick, unemployed and disabled.  A lot of this is due to the taxes we pay each year to cover the cost.  I am wholeheartedly supportive of the drug tests.  I think the positives far outweigh the negatives, and anyone who can’t see that needs to have a long hard think about why exactly that is and who they’re hurting in the long run.

-JD

My Two Cents: Gun Laws

So, this is one of the most hotly talked about topics in the blogosphere at the moment, mostly from people in America.  Normally I steer clear of political topics because I generally don’t have a well-formed (or I suppose well-educated) opinion.  This is potentially true in this case too, however I do have a unique insight and overview of the whole thing as I’m not from the US, and I’ve grown up in a very different world when it comes to guns and the laws that surround them.

In my humble opinion, Australia has a fantastic system when it comes to guns.  You firstly need a licence which I believe also requires background checks.  I can hear the American pro-gun uproar at the thought of it: “What do you mean, a background check?  It’s my right to have a gun!”.  Tying in with that, to obtain a licence you absolutely have to be over 18.  Sorry, underagers, but you have next to no chance of picking up a weapon unaccompanied down under.  Secondly, anyone who owns gun/s must have their serial number registered to them.  No, you can’t just go to a gun show and pick one up.  (Side note: who the fuck even thinks gun shows are legitimate entertainment anyway?!).  Thirdly, anyone who owns gun/s must have a secure storage place for them.  The authorities can check.  Cue pro-gunners: “How is that going to help if someone is breaking in?  Where’s the security in that?  What’s the point?”

See, the thing about all these laws is, it means less people have access to guns.  A lot less.  By having less guns, it means they’re less likely to fall into the wrong hands.  We almost certainly will never have a re-enactment of America’s Sandy Hook shooting.  Firstly, because most families simply don’t own a gun.  For the ones that do, they are stored under lock and key, far away from curious little hands and minds.

With our stricter laws, we don’t have gun shows or easy-to-find gun shops.  We don’t stock ammo in everyday stores.  Kids with mental issues – such as the case with Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris – can’t just got out and pick up a couple of rifles.  Even if they were of age, chances are they’d have gotten knocked back before even being able to obtain a gun licence.

“I’m sure if they were desperate enough, they’d have found a way to get their hands on some guns.”

That may be true, I can’t completely deny that.  Mentally ill people can do some pretty desperate things.  That being said, Australia hasn’t had any mass shootings at all since before tougher gun laws were introduced in 1996 – and even that shooting was done by someone of age.  We certainly have our fair share of people with mental issues and disabilities.  The gun laws – no doubt coupled with a great health system – have stopped school shootings from happening.  Put simply, it’s just too hard.  Even if they could find someone with a gun (in the populated cities and suburbs I’d say that would be difficult), the person they’re taking the gun from is registered to it.  It would take the police no time at all to trace it back to them.  Who wants to risk that?  Nobody.

“But the right to bear arms is in the constitution!”

Yeah.  So what?  While I appreciate that Americans see the constitution as the be-all-and-end-all, I just don’t get it.  Maybe because Australia doesn’t really have anything similar, I just don’t really follow the logic.  It was written hundreds of years ago.  A lot has changed since then.  We have access to better technology, better heath systems, better education than when that was written.  Why can’t it be changed?  Or I guess, more to the point, even if it says it, why does it mean everyone should have a gun?  Just because you have the right to do it, doesn’t mean you need to.  I have the right to eat fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner…it doesn’t mean I do it.

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

I seriously can’t stress how idiotic that line is.  It seems to crop up every time a pro-gunner opens their mouth.  You’re being stupid.  If the guns weren’t there, less people would be dead.  I don’t care how you want to look at it, you can’t kill half as many people in a physical attack (such as a stabbing) than you can with a weapon.  Nobody is suggesting that simply by having a gun, you’re going to kill someone.  However by having a gun, it means you have the ability to do it easily and efficiently without getting into any form of combat whatsoever.  No, the gun doesn’t pull it’s own trigger, but the person behind it likely wouldn’t commit the murder at all without it.

“I only have a gun for protection because everyone else has a gun!”

This I understand.  Completely.  It’s just a reflection of how out of hand gun control is in the States.  If you feel you need a dangerous weapon just because you’re worried other people might use their dangerous weapons on you, it’s time to take a good hard look at why you both have them at all.  Australians don’t feel the need to own guns because we know that our neighbours likely don’t have any to turn on us with, and if they do, they’ve had proper screenings before they’ve been allowed one.  The gun problem isn’t going to get any better if you keep letting people buy them for protection.

Just because we are on the other side of the world, doesn’t mean we don’t feel the impacts of the school shootings Americans go through.  We see it on the news, we read it in the newspapers, we see it on social media.  All those broken families, crying faces, people asking why.  Our whole nation asks that same question too.  Why?  Why do you keep letting this happen to your children?  You watch on in horror, you hang your flags at half mast, you mourn for them…and yet you do nothing to fix the problem.  Do you honestly think this problem is just going to go away?  That it will fix itself?  That disturbed people will just decide to seek help instead of acting out their fantasies?

Wake up to yourself, America.

Collumbine happened back in 1999.  This has been an ongoing issue for SIXTEEN YEARS.  It isn’t going away.  It won’t fix itself.  Mentally ill people aren’t seeking help.  Stop putting guns in their hands.  Stop letting innocent lives be ended prematurely for a constitutional right.  Isn’t it a basic human right to live?  To feel safe in your own country?  To go and get a education without fear?  Until something changes, we will continue to watch in horror as more mass shootings occur, I guarantee it.

*Full disclaimer that I’m not meaning to offend people with this post.  I understand that Americans have been conditioned to believe guns are a part of life.  Also, if any of my facts are incorrect, I apologise.  I’m not an expert.  This is just one person’s view on the whole issue.

Time to Change – Day Seventeen

Today wound up being another good day.  It didn’t start out so optimistic though.  It was already 20 degrees and rising at 8am…yuck.  I mean, I guess I’d take it over the depths of winter but I certainly wasn’t in any mood for exercising like I’d planned.  As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a morning person at the best of times.  The thought of going for my walk with the temperature on the rise so early was too much.  I put on a couple of Netflix docos, ate my weetbix and procrastinated going clothes shopping instead.  I guess that was probably the real reason I wasn’t in a good headspace.  Like I talked about here, clothes shopping as an overweight person is extremely stressful and unappealing.  I had to do it though because I start my new job tomorrow, and they told me I had to have a black button up shirt…which I don’t have.  Button up shirts with E-cup boobs is never advisable.  I suspect I’ll be re-doing the buttons up continuously, but there’s nothing I can do about that.

Anyway, by the time I convinced myself to switch off Netflix (it took awhile) and go to the shops, it was the middle of the day and freaking hot.  I was in the lightest, summer-iest dress I owned and I was boiling by the time I crossed the carpark.  I know in a couple of months I’ll be looking back on this and laughing, but coming out of  a cold winter, my body is really struggling to deal with the sudden onset of sunshine.

When I shop, I have a simple goal in mind: walk into as few shops as possible, try on as few items as possible, leave as quickly as possible.  I hate shopping.  I hate shopping centres and getting stuck behind giant groups of people walking so slowly they might as well just stop.  I hate trying to find stores.  I hate trying to find a carpark.  The whole thing is just so unappealing.  I will never be one to go to a place like that just for fun.  True to form, I raced into Target, looked at all the pretty dresses that weren’t designed for fat people, dug around until I found a black shirt, raced into the changeroom, decided it wasn’t great but for $8 it will do, bought it, hit up the grocery store, ticked off my 8 items on my shopping list then straight back to the car and out of there.  On the plus side, it clocked up 2000 steps so that made it almost worth it.

The rest of the day was spent actively avoiding the heat (not helped by the fact that my aircon doesn’t work).  I napped, caught up on other people’s blogs, played the Sims and watched more Netflix.  How did Australia ever get by without it?

Up until about 6pm, I was thinking my exercise wasn’t going to happen today.  It was still humid and I wasn’t feeling it at all.  Then suddenly, the cool change crept in.  Nothing beats the cool change after days of hot weather.  That was enough motivation for me to go outside and tick another day off.  It was another beautiful night.  It was overcast but still warm, and there was a faint smell of rain in the air.  If only it would actually eventuate…

As I mentioned earlier, I start my new job tomorrow.  I feel very weird about it.  I feel like I’m lying to them knowing I will probably be taking another job in the very near future.  I know it happens and it’s to be expected when I originally applied for a full time role there and all they could offer me was casual, but I still feel like I’m messing them around.  There’s nothing I can do about it though…I can’t risk telling them about it until I get a definite yes, in case I don’t get the other job.  It’s taken me so long to get anything at all.  At least for my first couple of weeks they’re only really short shifts, so I’m not putting anyone out too much I suppose.  I know I should be feeling excited, but I honestly don’t think I’ll be working there in a few weeks, and even if for some reason the other job falls through, this job isn’t something I ever envisioned for myself, nor is it something I’m passionate about.  It’s literally just a job and at 25, I feel very frustrated about that.  I feel like everything is out of my control and I don’t like it at all.  I know I just have to wait and see how everything pans out but God I’m sick of waiting.  I feel like that’s all my life as been for the past three months.  Waiting waiting waiting.

I also found out today my grandmother has uterine (?) cancer.  She’s been feeling off for a couple of weeks but she got a confirmed diagnosis today.  Just another crappy event in this extremely shitty year.  Mum had cancer about six months ago (luckily they could just cut it out and that was the end of it), and now her mum has it.  The worst part is, she’s got dementia (at least, the early stages of it) and she’s probably going to forget she’s even going through all this.  It’d be easier for her if my grandpa was still around because he was always there to remind her of what’s going on, but unfortunately he passed away last year.  It also doesn’t help she lives about an hour and a half away from the rest of her family.  It’s going to be tough on my mum and uncle, who will alternate driving down there and staying there on and off until this is over.  They’re hoping a hysterectomy will get it all…I hope so.  I honestly don’t know how she’ll cope if it’s anything more than that.  I don’t know how the family will cope in general.

Urgh.  2015 just needs to fuck off already.  I’m so over being dealt blow after blow.  The car accident on my birthday was definitely a bad omen or something.  I just want things to be easy again.

-JD

Time to Change – Day Sixteen

Today was one of my good days.  I felt a lot less gross and crampy than yesterday, and I got a bit more sleep than I’d been averaging over the last week (I resorted to sleeping tablets, though they were a different brand to what I’m used to and definitely not as potent.  Still, they did the job enough for me to not feel like a zombie).  As I said yesterday, I was willing to give myself a day off from exercise, so I skipped my morning walk.

I ate a healthy breakfast of weetbix and chia seeds with honey, which is fast becoming my favourite option for my first meal of the day as it is easier to prepare than eggs and healthier than toast.  By the time lunchtime rolled around, I was in one of those weird moods where I’m kind of hungry but not enough to eat.  This lasted well into the afternoon.  I nibbed on some BBQ Shapes but wasn’t really into it, and put them away pretty quickly.

Thankfully my appetite came back for dinner, and I made up the rest of my daily calories then.  I was feeling pretty good, the best I’d done in over 24 hours, and the weather outside was cooling down after another hot day as the sun was sinking.  My dog was carrying on, obviously upset that I hadn’t taken her for her exercise, so I decided that I wasn’t going to skip it today after all.

It’s funny, even now I don’t really feel guilty when I eat the wrong thing (okay, maybe slightly, but nothing I can’t easily overlook), but when I think about skipping exercise – even for a legitimate reason – I can’t bring myself to do it.  I wouldn’t say I enjoy it…not consciously, anyway.  I hate feeling sore and sweaty and out of breath.  I guess on a subconscious level, though, my body is enjoying the benefits of my new routine, and because of that, I feel really lazy and gross if I don’t make the effort and go.  I remember feeling the same way when I started a gym routine a few years back…I’d just forgotten about that feeling up until now.  It’s good that it’s happening, because if it wasn’t, I know for a fact I wouldn’t have made the effort tonight.  Even with the guilt, I was still on the fence about it.  What tipped me over was just how beautiful an evening it was.  Daylight savings had finally kicked in, so it was getting darker later, and the air was still warm from the day, without the sun to make it unbearable.  The sky was tinged with pink and the breeze was soft and welcoming.  I walked a little slower than usual just to enjoy it a bit longer (and also because walking on a full stomach wasn’t the greatest life choice) and got home right at the sun was disappearing completely.

Despite the pretty night, I think I’ll try to go back to my morning routine tomorrow.  Like I’ve mentioned previously, I think it’s best to get into the habit so when I start working full time again, it won’t be such an effort to go beforehand.  Plus, as safe as my area seems, there’s always a lingering doubt about walking around as it’s getting dark.  It’s a sad world when females have to think like that, even when there doesn’t appear to be any immediate danger.

Hope y’all had an awesome day too!

-JD

Time to Change – Day Fourteen

Today was a good day.  There’s nothing quite like the anticipation of a beautiful, warm spring day, especially after a cold winter.  I won’t go into too much detail, as I already talked about it here.  It really put me in a good headspace, which after putting weight back on wasn’t exactly where I was at yesterday.

I woke up at 6am after a crappy sleep again.  My neck was sore from all the tossing and turning I’d done, and I’d had weird dreams with a Vanessa Carlton backing track (true story).  Normally after a night like that, it completely throws out my day as I struggle to shake off the grumpiness.  I don’t do well when I’m tired.  However, I knew I needed to shake it off and get my head in the game if I had any chance of dropping the weight I’d put back on.  Instead of going back to sleep like my eyes were pleading me to do, I got up, pulled on my shoes and took the dog for her walk.  The temperature was supposed to be really warm and I didn’t want to fall back asleep and wake up when it was too hot to go.

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The other reason I made myself go so early was because I knew at some point, this would probably have to become the norm for me, once I start working again.  As much as I don’t like that idea (especially because it will probably be right on dawn as it’ll be daylight savings), I’ve done it before, a few years ago when I lived in an apartment that backed onto a beautiful lake and walking track.  I’d get up before work, pull on my Nikes and do a full loop of the track (being extremely careful to give the angry geese a wide berth…those things were terrifying!).  I really miss that walking track, it was always so peaceful and beautiful.  I lived there prior to getting my dog, and I know it’s absolutely out of the question to have stayed there with her.  Still, pictures like this come up in my Timehop and my heart sinks just a little bit.

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No filter needed!  Still, the estate I’m in now isn’t without it’s charms and it doesn’t have any crazy geese.  None that I’ve run into yet, anyway!

Anyway, I digress.  What was I talking about?  Oh right.  So the early morning walk went well.  It was a beautiful day.  The sun was already out but it hadn’t started warming up too much.  It was windy, but nothing out of the ordinary.  My nan refers to the area as “the windiest place on Earth”…while she has a knack for exaggerating, it’s hard to find a day where there isn’t a strong breeze.  By the last kilometre, my legs were really sore…a lot more than usual.  I suspect it was because when I go for my walks later in the day my muscles have had a chance to stretch and warm up a bit prior…they didn’t get that chance today and it never occurred to me to stretch before I go.  I know you’re technically supposed to do it before any exercise but a light walk is hardly what anyone would call strenuous.  Lesson learnt.

The rest of today was spent reading other people’s blogs, soaking in the tub, enjoying the fresh air and watching the season finale of “Finding Carter”.  It’s not often I get into shows like that (they’re so American and the cast is always so goddamn beautiful it’s painful to watch) but the storyline of this really sucked me in and the plot twists were fantastic.  So now I’m left hanging and already dying for it to come back…which is why I don’t let myself watch shows like this.  Ah well.

I feel like I haven’t eaten the best today but MyFitnessPal seems to say I’m tracking okay, both calorie-wise and in terms of my carbs/fats/protein portions.  I’m going to give it an even better go tomorrow, now that I’ve eaten through a majority of the junk food that was leftover from when my friend was here.  Time to get serious about shifting the weight again.  I’ll probably go for another early walk tomorrow as it’s gonna be pretty warm again.  Plus, getting it out the way before breakfast leaves the day wide open to enjoy, instead of putting it off and procrastinating.

Hope everyone else enjoyed the weather like I did!

-JD